27 July 2010 | Nick Martindale
The procurement practices of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MHSS) in Namibia have again come under scrutiny after a high court ruling halted a contract to supply oxygen and air to three of the country’s biggest hospitals.
The deal, worth N$4.43 million (£391,000), was awarded to the Namibian company Intaka Technology but has been suspended until 6 August while a legal appeal against the award by two other bidders is finalised.
Oshimoko Medical Air and Oxygen Supplies CC and its partner company Air Liquide Healthcare Namibia are taking legal action against the MHSS, the chairperson of the tender board and Intaka.
Leonard Shiyuka, managing partner of Oshimoko, told the court in an affidavit that Intaka and another bidder were given the chance to present to members of the tender committee ahead of the decision but claims Oshimoko and Air Liquide were not given the same opportunity.
The ministry’s deputy director Clive Platt denied other bidders were invited to make presentations.
Documents submitted by the MHSS recommending the tender be awarded to Intaka suggest the proposal from Oshimoko and Air Liquide was almost double that of Intaka, at N$8.647 million (£763,000).
Intaka said it was unable to comment at present and both Oshimoko and Air Liquide failed to respond to requests from SM for interview.
This is not the first time that the MHSS has found its procurement practices under question.
SM reported recently how the government had been forced to abandon a contract with a local manufacturer of condoms under pressure from the Global Fund after concerns over pricing.
In December 2009 the ministry lost a legal case against the pharmaceutical firm Nampharm over a N$52 million (£4.6 million) deal to supply drugs to state medical facilities.